Posted by Rodney
To share or not to share, that is the question. I find that I often struggle to engage in conversation when difficult or complex topics come up when we’re not recording. I’ve realized this hinders my ability to communicate effectively and consistently because I often expect others to just take me at what I say without much context (yet I love searching for context). I’ve wondered why this is, so I figured I’d list my challenges and reasons, determine which to address, and how I’ll work on them.
Difficult conversation for me would be defined as times when I’m asked to share personal thoughts or feelings on a topic when I’m not already prepared to do so, at least for the sake of this conversation we’re having today.
Do you avoid difficult conversations? Do you seek them? Have you ever thought about why?
Keith has shared his on difficulties as well, so I figure why not give it a go. Here goes something…
Yes, it’s a real word, see here. Based on the “where do you get energy” approach I straddle the line of introvert and extravert. Many that know me would swear I’m an extravert and often they’re correct. Just as often as I recharge my batteries from being alone, I crave balance here. I find that between my job which requires me to be on the phone or in meetings much of the day and podcasting I need even more time to recharge. Interestingly enough, I’d speak up less when I hear someone I don’t know that well make an interesting comment on race / politics / religion / etc…
There is some relationship to my job and how I recharge the batteries here. Also, it often feels like there is just so much to listen to and consider that I come to a point of just shutting down. Barring an egregious comment like “The X-men suck…” when I’m fatigued I just let it go.
To Share = Weakness/Vulnerability
I’ve always clung to this notion. No clue where I got it this idea. I was never explicitly told this, yet I believed it for so long. I now realize that vulnerability requires strength, a lot of it. This is probably the deepest rooted of all the ideas I’ll go through here. It’s such a part of me that I actually get annoyed/angry sometimes when people question me about things I don’t want to share. As if they are jabbing through a slit in my armor with a dagger. Typing this out loud (is that even a thing?) I am saying to myself that is ludicrous. However I know that it’s exactly how I feel and respond to being forced to share.
Not sure what to say
Often I just like to observe and listen without interjecting or imposing my thoughts on others. As such I often just listen. I also prefer to be right (EGO issue) that said, I do like to have facts or information to support my statements. A lot of times (in my head, most of the time) I won’t speak if I don’t have information.
Stuck in my head
I like to think before I speak and I’m not the quickest on my feet when it comes to doing so. So I’m often quite because I’ve not yet come up with a question or retort.
To share is hard; Not to share is natural (for me)
Or perhaps I have come up with a retort or question and I simply hold on to it. Why? Sharing is hard for me. Why? I’ve always been a private person, I think I developed this as a defense mechanism growing up. My family tends to be more tight lipped about issues and sharing so that’s part of it. There is a vulnerability to sharing that is just hard for me to make peace with. I’ve made strides and see the ability to expose thoughts/feelings (in proper context) as a strength rather than a weakness now. Not a strength that I possess, rather a skill I’m trying to acquire and hone.
I want people to like me
I’m definitely a people pleaser. I don’t want to actively make people not like me. Often questioning peoples deepest seeded thoughts is a terrifying idea to me because I’d rather they not dislike me for it. Now, logically I realize that’s a really weak reason to not push or engage. It’s just a truth I’ve realized about myself. I’ve also realized it makes me want to say YES to far too much. Time is limited and you can do everything. Sure I’m a Jack of All and what-not however there has to be focus and many things must be sidelined as priority is placed on areas I’ve decided to focus on.
Where to from here?
Which to improve upon?
How do I improve?
I’m already finding ways to sharing more openly. Hence our podcast and blogging. I’ve also, and likely the more important part begun working to recognize when I don’t feel like sharing and identifying why.
Wanting people to like me, this is one that I am focusing on. I know that I have no control over peoples decisions, in my brain. Yet, I often say less in order to “keep the peace”. I don’t think this is a horrible thing, unless it forces me to compromise values or puts someone in harm. Which isn’t an issue so I’ll need to think on this one.
Vulnerability + Sharing
Writing really seems to help me share. I journal daily and am now writing these here blog posts as often as I can think of a topic. These both allow me to reflect on the ramblings in my head and I’ve found the practice to be illuminating. Also, focusing on the things I care about more relationships, results, and growth are helping me de-prioritize feeling threatened.
What about you? Feel any of these issues sharing? Different ones perhaps?